Collection Care blog

15 October 2015

Making connections – a speed meeting with The National Archives

Although conservators tend to work behind secure doors in studios and labs - we do like to get out occasionally. This morning a group of colleagues from Conservation at the British Library (BL) met with our counterparts at The National Archives (TNA) to hold a speed networking event. The aim was to meet face to face and make better connections to share expertise, skills and ideas.

A group of 23 conservators smile for the camera while sitting and standing around a table in a meeting room.

Five minutes was allowed to talk to a colleague from the other institution, before moving on to the next person - and so on. This generated focussed discussion and the ability to meet a significant number of people in a short space of time.

Themes identified for future collaboration and knowledge sharing included key performance indicators and reporting, analytical imaging techniques, managing digitisation, sharing skills and collaborating on preventive projects, and how approaches to conservation treatment differ. There are many similarities between the two institutions but also differences. For example, both institutions have both planned and reactive ways of treating objects to ensure preservation and access, TNA use volunteers whilst BL does not, BL has an annual work programme whilst TNA works quarterly.

The group look toward one speaker who is talking while standing next to a wall with sticky notes attached.

The event fostered open and supportive discussion and is a cooperative example of how to make the most of resources and expertise within the heritage profession. Particularly given the current straitened times. With many thanks to Nancy Bell, Juergen Vervoorst and their team for hosting the event.

Cordelia Rogerson, Head of Conservation

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